WITH all political parties committing to a greener future for business, appetite for sustainability is strong. That is the message from the Made in Britain green marketing working group, which met via video conference on 5 June.
The working group, chaired by John Pearce, CEO of Made in Britain, felt that consumers are more concerned about environmental factors than they used to be, valuing sustainability more, despite an often-increased cost of the product. Some manufacturing sectors have gaps in the supply chain, for example, stainless steel and chemicals are not produced in the UK, which is a hurdle to being self-sustaining. Mr Pearce undertook to find out from members what other gaps exist, compile a list and highlight the issue to the government.
Dr Paula Owen (left) gave the group a preview of her upcoming webinar looking at life-cycle analysis (LCA). Responding to Dr Owen’s presentation, Felicity Hodgkinson of ecodek said her company has done an LCA and the results are now one of its strongest messages.
Ms Hodgkinson said after the meeting, “Our decking boards were the subject of the analysis. These were compared to the proposed RubWPC boards, which had a rubber element to their materials mix. This was measured against their lifespan of at least 25 years, based on their 25-year warranty.
“This independent life-cycle assessment considered the manufacture of ecodek, from cradle to factory-gate, showed that production of ecodek had a net effect of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere rather than adding to it – hence carbon-negative – a huge achievement in modern manufacturing and one that clearly illustrates our environmental credentials and commitment.”
Matthew Marks, compliance and sustainability manager at PALLITE, confirmed a similar experience, “We analysed our standard paper pallet and pallet box, comparing them to the wooden alternatives of a pallet and wooden sleeve and collar. The LCA proves that PALLITE is a better solution for the environment and produces less CO2 in the supply when comparing them to wooden alternatives. We have since created numerous marketing collateral to help get this message across, found on our website.”
Dr Owen was asked if there is a simpler and cheaper version for small businesses and she explained that the cost of performing an LCA is related to the product and considers how many raw materials are used and how many manufacturing steps there are. A simpler option would be to focus just on carbon footprint. Carbon footprint will be run as a separate webinar.
Another member said their company has looked at using ‘zero waste to landfill’ as a credential. Dr Owen advised caution around using this as some businesses incinerate waste, which obviously isn’t good. Consumers are becoming more aware of the zero waste to landfill message being weak.
After the meeting, John Pearce said, “I’m really inspired to see our members already benefitting from being on the new MiB green marketing group. As well as sharing their most effective sales arguments, they’re setting the agenda for the coming months and helping steer the team at Made in Britain on what is most useful for manufacturers.
“The group was re-convening for the first time post ‘lockdown’ period. Members were all keen to share their marketing highs, and a few lows, of this very challenging period of business. The group were unanimous that getting your sustainable message right, and backing it up with real numerical evidence of greener practices, will be essential for manufacturers to lead on a greener, leaner recovery.”
If you can help with our aim to list all the incoming materials gaps faced by UK manufacturers who want a self-sustaining supply chain, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments. The next Made in Britain green working group will take place on 24 July.
Dr Paula Owen’s life-cycle analysis webinar will be held on Thursday 25 June and is open to all members. Book online here. Dr Owen’s other environment and sustainability webinars will be ‘An introduction to carbon footprinting’ on Thursday 16 July and ‘Net zero’ – what it means for your business’ on Thursday 23 July. More details here.